Page 23


I reach down and slip the boots off my feet, then carry them back to my bed where the box is. There’s another card. I didn’t notice it before, placed under the boots. I pick it up. It’s a notecard, no envelope. The card stock is heavy and his name is embossed in gold print along the bottom, aligned to the right. Sawyer Camden.
I place the boots in the box and sit, running my index finger over the edge of the card for a moment. A note from Sawyer.
I like you.
That’s it. That’s what’s written on the inside of the card, and it confuses me. Not the statement. I got that much in the car on Sunday. But my feelings confuse me. I’m so flustered by him. By his interest. By his certainty. By that kiss.
I run a finger over my bottom lip, remembering it, and flush. To be honest, I’m not completely sure what it meant to him. I mean, was he just fucking with me? Proving a point? Or did he mean it? I’m not sure. He’s a thirty-four-year-old man. Successful, by the looks of his car, the assistant on speed dial. I’m a twenty-two-year-old college senior with a delusional one-sided thing for his brother. Why me?
Yet I can’t discount the chemistry. He wasn’t lying about that, there’s most definitely something between us. But just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to act on it. The road to hell is paved with attractive men who radiate sex appeal and look like models from a Polo ad campaign.
Or something like that.
“He bought you an Elf on the Shelf?” I’m at work and my friend Sophie is catching me up on her Thanksgiving weekend. She spent it with her new boyfriend, the gynecologist. I think it’s weird too, but he is crazy hot. And in her defense, she didn’t know he was a gynecologist until she ended up in his exam room. But that’s a story for another time.
“Yeah. Neither of us really knew what it was, but we looked it up and now he texts me pictures of the elf every morning,” she says with a big grin.
“Pictures of the elf on his dick?” I ask hopefully. Because this domestic elf shit is just a little much.
“No! Pictures of the elf doing funny stuff around his house.”
Huh. I don’t know what to make of that.
“Never mind.” She waves a hand to close the subject.
But still, I blurt out, “Holy shit. He’s in love with you.”
She demurs, insists they’re just having fun, but Sophie is not a having-fun kind of girl. This can’t possibly end well. That guy is all wrong for her.
“Okay, enough about me,” she says. “Tell me about your weekend. Did you make any headway with Professor Camden?”
“I…” I start to answer her, but stop. “I don’t know what is going on anymore, Sophie.”
“What do you mean?” Sophie tilts her head in concern. “You always know what is going on. You have a plan, remember? Six months till graduation, six months to make Finn Camden fall in love with you.”
As if I need reminding. “I know, I know, but I’m so confused.” I can feel my face fall as I talk, my forehead creased in worry. Confused is an understatement.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah.” I suck in a gulp of air and plaster a smile on my face. I’m not ready to talk about this with Sophie. I haven’t even fully talked it out with Chloe. I told her I wasn’t deviating from my Finn Camden plan and she just groaned and thumped her head on the desk.
I’m saved from thinking any more about the Finn versus Sawyer debacle that is currently my life because Sophie’s stalker has just walked into the coffee shop. I point him out and get the usual lecture about the difference between a regular customer and a stalker. I barely have time to shrug before the guy is at the counter asking her out and then flashing a federal ID at her when she declines.